Borje Salming, Hall of Fame defenseman, dies at 71

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TORONTO (AP) — Hall of Fame defenseman Borje Salming, who starred for the Toronto Maple Leafs over 16 seasons, died at 71. He had ALS.

The Maple Leafs confirmed Salming’s death in a statement on Friday. Team president Brendan Shanahan said Salming opened the door for Europeans in the NHL.

“Borje was a pioneer of the game and an icon with an unbreakable spirit and unquestioned toughness,” Shanahan said. ”(Salming) defined himself through his play on the ice and through his contributions to the community.”

Toronto signed Salming as a free agent before the 1973-74 season.

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